Monday, September 28, 2015

Peach and Pumpkin Muffins - #MuffinMonday

One day last week I hungry but didn't have time to go get a proper meal so I decided to grab something from a vending machine. I used to have a daily vending machine habit. I'd get one of two things - a cinnamon roll or a honey bun. Hey, stop judging me. I know the vending machine varieties taste nothing like ones from a bakery or homemade but this was an essential daily fix. As I approached the vending machine that evening, I thought about getting a cinnamon roll. But I was really hungry and even though there are a million calories in those rolls, I am inevitably hungry seconds after eating one. I spotted bagel with cream cheese and thought that was perfect. But right beside the bagel was an Otis Spunkmeyer blueberry muffin. And beside that? Chocolate chocolate chip muffin. The chocoholic in me danced.

My friends and I have this thing where we keep each other accountable by logging our meals and fitness activities on MyFitnessPal. Sometimes we'll send out messages if we're being tempted by a treat. Truth be told, they do this. I just respond to the messages. My temptations are never "Should I have ice cream today?" but "Should I eat another ice cream bar and a slice of cake?" I just pretend that I am being good and leave the extras off MFP.  I thought I'd have them weigh in on this one though because I was seriously torn. I was about to hit send when I realised that if they didn't choose the muffin, I'd be really sad. Decision made. I got the muffin.

Oh happy day! That muffin was 720 calories of pure bliss. I grinned from ear to ear as I ate every crumb. It's like I had forgotten just how amazing choxolate + chocolate chip was. Had I not already made my Muffin Monday muffins, I would have definitely ran home to mix some up. Five minutes after the muffin, I was hungry again. But I was still happy.

These peach and pumpkin muffins are no chocolate chocolate chip muffin but they are still rather delicious. Peaches are almost out of the supermarket so I thought I'd grab some and combine them with the pumpkins that are overflowing the supermarket bins. It was still a little hard for me to think of pumpkin in a non-savoury light but these muffins have definitely changed my mind.

Peach and Pumpkin Muffins
Recipe by: Kelly   Adapted from:Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 12 muffins

3/4 cup all purpose flour 
3/4 cup whole white wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup peaches, diced

2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line or grease a standard muffin pan. 

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger. In a larger bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and granulated sugar. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just combined. Fold in the diced 
Divide the batter among the muffin wells. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the tops of each muffin.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.
  • You can use granulated sugar instead of brown sugar for topping
  •  Change the spices to suit your taste.

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Party Bread

I stood in the kitchen and stared hesitantly at the goat cheese. I needed to taste it but I was afraid. I am no stranger to goat. In Jamaica, curry goat is a favourite. No respectable celebration leaves curry goat off the menu. A dead yard (wake) isn’t a dead yard if there is no mannish water - a goat soup that’s thought to be an aphrodisiac -served.  Still, I was a bit worried about this cheese. I knew it would be pungent/gamey. Too pungent for me to like it? I really wasn’t sure. But I had to taste it.

I took a breath, opened the package, and reached for a knife. I wasn’t expecting it to be that creamy - pretty much like cream cheese. I assume there are hard varieties available but this was the only one my supermarket had. I closed my eyes and took a taste. Oh. I was being dramatic for nothing. This particular brand was very very mild. The gamey goat taste was there but certainly not strong enough for me to turn away.  It was nothing compared to a cup of mannish water. I could definitely handle this.

Goat cheese and mushrooms won the Crazy Ingredient Challenge this month. I had a really fun pastry planned but a friend sent me a picture of bloomin’ bread/pull apart bread/party bread (what do you call it?) and I completely changed my mind. Zero regrets. The bread is absolutely delicious! The goat cheese isn’t a gooey melter like a mozzarella but it still worked well here. I am guessing that it would be pretty difficult to mess this up. The most difficult part is slicing the bread. I used a relatively freshly baked Italian loaf and the crumb was really soft. Next time I will bake a loaf with a firmer crumb. That would make not only slicing easier but when it’s time to pull out pieces of bread, they would also come out more easily.

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Party Bread

1 round loaf of bread ( about a pound)
5 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup butter, divided use
1 teaspoon (or to taste) red pepper flakes
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
Pinch of salt
6 oz goat cheese, softened
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place the minced garlic and a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of water in a pan over low heat. Cook stirring occasionally until the garlic is straw coloured.

While the garlic is cooking, prepare the bread. Make one inch slices being careful not to cut all the way to the bottom. Turn the loaf and make one inch slices at  90 degrees to the first slices.

When the garlic is ready, add the remaining butter to the pan and stir until butter has melted. Pour off the garlic and butter into a bowl. Remove a tablespoon of the garlic butter and return to the pan to cook the mushrooms. Add the red pepper flakes to the reserved garlic butter and let it sit while you prepare the mushrooms.

Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt to the pan and stir frequently until the mushrooms begin to release moisture. Cook for another 3- 4 minutes then remove from the heat.
Mix together the goat cheese and the cilantro.

Place the sliced loaf on a sheet of foil on a baking  sheet. The sheet should be large enough to wrap around the entire loaf or you could use a second sheet to cover it. Pour the garlic (+ pepper) butter evenly between the slices of the bread. I used a spoon for this step. Stuff the mushrooms evenly between the slices then follow with the goat cheese.

Cover the loaf in foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil then bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is completely heated through and the edges are toasted.

Serve hot.

  • Pulling the "fingers" apart will allow the bread to toast more quickly. 
  • The goat cheese I used isn't a melter. Feel free to throw in your favourite melting cheese.
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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Carrot Graham Mini Bundts with White Chocolate Chips and Marshmallow Glaze - #BundtBakers

"Never toast marshmallows on an unlined cookie sheet."

That was my social media status on Sunday while I worked on these little Bundts. My little marshmallow incident reminded me of another incident from my childhood. I'm not sure how old I was but I should probably say a really young age so that I look better in this story. Let's go with 10 years old.

There's a cooking show on Jamaican television called Creative Cooking. While I prepared lunch or a snack, I would fancy myself on Creative Cooking and talk to my imaginary audience. One evening, Creative Cooking featured candy making. I was intrigued. I don't think I had ever attempted anything from the show before and my kitchen skills were pretty limited - I could boil hot dogs and make seasoned rice. But candy needed to be made.

I gathered pots and spoons and then went out to the lime tree to get some limes. I'm not sure how the limes fit in. I don't think they were part of the recipe. Maybe I wanted them to be lime flavoured? Or maybe I have conflated some memories? It's been a while. Anyway, the sugar started melting and I started stirring. I should also point out that I had not written anything down from the show. It was all from memory. At some point, things started going very wrong. I no longer had pretty melted sugar on my hands, I now had smoking melted sugar. Oh and the spoon that I was using had started to melt also.

Abort! Abort!

I panicked. Soon I had sugar stuck in the pot and on multiple spoons. I knew my mother would be home soon and she would probably kill me. So I grabbed the pot and spoons and tossed them into the back of the cupboard. Don't give me that look! I was TEN! I think. I didn't have a plan so the pot and spoons just sat there. Months passed and I had forgotten about the candy making disaster. I don't know if my mother had ever asked about the pot. She must have though and I'm pretty sure I lied. "The small pot? What small pot? That I use for hot dogs? Oh look! A fly. Let me get rid of it." Or perhaps, "Hmm. You're right. I haven't seen it in a while." Well, that would have been the truth. I couldn't see it hidden there in the back of the cupboard.

My luck eventually ran out (as it always did) and one day Mummy found the pot. Look, I am going to be honest. I do not remember much about "Discovery Day" but she spared my life so there's that. As I type this, my mother is actually on the phone with me. And funnily enough, she is complaining about a cast iron pot that my brother messed up. I'd ask her about "Discovery Day" but I see no reason to get her started on me. Ha! She's now talking about a spoon. It's like she knows what I'm typing over here. She has always been oddly "psychic" like that. While I was making notes for a blog post for next month, she randomly brought up the incident I was writing about. Time to distract her because I think she's heading down the "kitchen stuff my children have damaged" path.

Let's get back to 2015. The task for this month's Bundt Bakers is to create a s'mores cake. Confession: I've never had s'mores but I made s'mores brownies once. They were pretty amazing but I had carrot cake on the brain so a chocolate cake wouldn't do. I thought I'd make a carrot cake that had graham crackers and white chocolate chips and then top it with a toasted marshmallow glaze. I got my marshmallows toasted but didn't move quickly enough to get them all off my unlined/ungreased cookie sheet. The toasted marshmallow glaze was delicious but way too chunky to be used in the way I pictured it. And on top of that, I now had marshmallows stuck to my cookie sheet and spatula. Thankfully, Adult Kelly knows a bit more chemistry than 10 year old Failed Candy Maker Kelly. I boiled some water and poured it over my cookie sheet and spatula. Disaster averted. Toasted marshmallow glaze will have to wait though. I decided to stick with just a regular marshmallow glaze. In the middle of the night, I had the bright idea to top a mini Bundt with marshmallows and then toast the tops. Tasty. I didn't take pics though.

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Carrot Graham Cake with White Chocolate Chips
Recipe by: Kelly   Adapted from: Cake: Smitten Kitchen Glaze: Saveur
Yield: 9 mini Bundts (1 cup capacity)

1 cup flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup + 3 T oil
3 eggs
3 cups grated carrot
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons water
2 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a nine 1 cup capacity mini Bundt pans.

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Then whisk together the sugars, oil and eggs in a separate bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry then stir until just combined. Fold in the carrots and chocolate chips. 

Divide among the mini Bundt pans. Bake 15 - 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the mini cakes comes out clean.

Place the confectioner's sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Over medium heat, melt the butter in the water then stir in the marshmallows until melted. 
Pour the marshmallow mixture into the sugar mixture. Mix until combined and use immediately.
  • There's a lot of carrot in these cakes so they are extremely moist. Handle with care. After cooling for a few minutes, I loosened the edges with a spatula then placed the mini Bundts in the freezer. That made them really easy to unmold without fear of the cakes breaking.
  • The glaze goes on thick but dissolves into the cake pretty quickly. .   

Here are all the S'mores themed Bundts. Thanks for hosting, Lauren!
 #BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Potato Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls - #BreadBakers

As I sit here, it's raining heavily outside. It's been like this for the last few days - five minutes of sunshine and then heavy rain for the rest of the day. It's annoying when one has errands to run, yard work to do, and pictures to take. But the rains are desperately needed. The state had been experiencing a bit of a drought - nothing like California and Jamaica though. I wish that I could send them some of this rain. I also have to be grateful that it's just heavy rains and not the hurricane that we were looking out for last week.

It's been years since I've had to do hurricane preparations. I actually had to google what was needed. Sure, I needed water but how many gallons per day was it again? In typical South Florida style, water was flying off the shelves faster than the workers could restock it. Bread was also a scarce commodity. I haven't bought bread in over three years and I couldn't decide whether I should get some or not. I had already planned to make a potato bread for this month's Bread Baker's whole grains theme. But was homemade bread a good idea for my hurricane food supply? Homemade bread doesn't have preservatives and would only last so long. Baking multiple loaves was probably not a good idea. Some sourdough loaves tend to have a little bit more staying power but I wasn't in the mood to wake my starter up. Plus, it probably would not have made a huge difference.

Luckily, the storm fizzled and died so I could bake my bread without worrying about how long it would last in my hurricane survival kit. Let me tell you, it was great to enjoy these rolls without needing to think about post-disaster survival. These rolls are delicious. You know when you make something so good that when you take that first bite, you immediately propose to yourself? These were that good. (What? You don't propose to yourself? Odd.) I picked up the phone to text a friend about the rolls - intending to send her some. Luckily, I realised that would mean fewer rolls for me and put the phone down. Sorry, friend. I can't take any credit for the recipe. I just took King Arthur's recipe and substituted whole wheat flour (whole white wheat actually). I worried that I wouldn't have amazing fluffy rolls since I did a direct one to one substitution. But one should never doubt the power of potato. Potato is an amazing dough conditioner and certainly worked wonders here. You'd never guess that it's completely whole wheat. It also helped that I used white wheat instead of red wheat - a very different flavour profile. Traditional red whole wheat would work perfectly here too. I just know that not many like that stronger taste.

Scroll down to see how others used whole grains. Thanks for hosting, Cali!

Potato Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
Recipe by: Kelly   Adapted from: King Arthur Flour
Yield: 20 rolls

1 medium russet potato (large enough to yield 7.25 oz mashed potato)
2 eggs
3 oz oil 
2.5 oz sugar
18 oz whole white wheat flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
6 oz potato water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook the potato until soft. Reserve the cooking water and mash the potato until smooth. You will need 7.25 oz for the recipe. 

In a large bowl, beat the mash potato, eggs, oil, and sugar. Add the flour, yeast, and water. Knead for about a minute just to get the ingredients mixed together. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add salt and knead until smooth. This could take up to 10 minutes. If the dough seems dry, add water by the teaspoon. It may look a bit sticky but try not to additional flour unless it is actually sticking to your hands. During the kneading process, it will eventually pull away from the sides of the bowl but still stick to the bottom.

When the dough is smooth, form into a ball and place in a greased bowl to rise until doubled. It could take about an hour or more. It depends on the temperature of your room. 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9" x 13" and a 9" round baking pan.

Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces that are approximately 2 ounces each. Form each into a tight ball and place an inch apart in the prepared baking pans. Cover and let rise until doubled and puffy. 

Bake 20 - 25 minutes until golden. Brush with melted butter, if desired. Cool slightly in the pans then remove and cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy warm.

  • Typically, a whole wheat recipe will use more water than one with all purpose flour.  The recommendation from King Arthur is an additional 2 teaspoons of water per cup of whole wheat flour. I didn't do that here because I made these rolls on a very rainy day and rainy days usually means my bread dough is more sticky than normal. Reserve some additional potato water to add to your dough just in case you need it.
  • This dough looks sticky but it really isn't. Pinch off a piece. If it forms a ball that isn't sticking to your hands, you're fine.
  • These are really delicious. Make them!.   

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once per month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.You can see all of our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board. Links are also updated after the event on the #BreadBakers homepage.
If you're a food blogger and would like to join us, please email Stacy at

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  • Bublik - Russian Bagels from Sara's Tasty Buds
  • Bulgur Wheat Bread from Food Lust People Love
  • Cilantro and Garlic Oat Bread from Simply Veggies
  • Corn Pizza on Multigrain Crust from Cook's Hideout
  • Gluten Free Honey Oat Bread from A Day in the Life on the Farm
  • Kitchen Sink Bread from What Smells So Good?
  • Multigrain Country Bread from La cocina de Aisha
  • Potato Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls from Passion Kneaded
  • Rosemary, Garlic, and Parsley Whole Wheat Bread from Karen's Kitchen Stories
  • Tomato and Rosemary Einkorn Focaccia Rounds from A Shaggy Dough Story
  • Whole Grain Maple Oat Scones from Cali's Cuisine
  • Whole Grain Oatmeal Blueberry Banana Bread from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
  • Whole Grain Zucchini Macadamia Bread from The Schizo Chef
  • Whole Wheat English Muffins from Spill the Spices
  • Whole Wheat Date Nut Bread from Magnolia Days
  • Whole Wheat Naan from Spiceroots